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Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Tuesday - June 13, 2006

From: Somers, NY
Region: Northeast
Topic: Shade Tolerant
Title: Plants for shade native to New York
Answered by: Dean Garrett

QUESTION:

I am gradually trying to convert my garden to all natives. I am working in a shaded area under a maple tree. Are there any varieties of epimediums/barrenwort or hellebores that are native to the northeast US?

ANSWER:

There are no species of Epimedium or Helleborus native anywhere in the Americas. However, there are plenty of desirable low-growing plants for shady areas native to your region, and our Regional FactPack for the Northeast can help you identify species appropriate for your space.

Keeping in mind that I am not familiar with the specific conditions of your site, here are some initial suggestions for low-growing shade plants native to New York:

Jack in the Pulpit (Arisaema triphyllum)
Canadian wild ginger (Asarum canadense)
Green-and-gold (Chrysogonum virginianum)
Partridgeberry (Mitchella repens)
Heartleaf Foamflower (Tiarella cordifolia)

For additional ideas, contact a local native plant society chapter or a nearby chapter of the Wild Ones, and be sure and consult our National Suppliers' Directory to find out who sells natives in your area.
 

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